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Cyber conferencing

Virtual Trade Mission aims to use web to foster US and UK technology trade relations

The days of the face-to-face business meeting could be numbered as now even heads of industry are choosing to meet virtually, rather than hop across the pond on Concord. A planned Trade Mission aimed at helping UK and US technology firms network is set to take place entirely online, with company chiefs from both countries using chatrooms and discussion groups to share information, rather than boardrooms and boozy lunches.

The Virtual Trade Mission, which will take place from 23 September to 11 October, is the brainchild of Invest-UK, the British Embassy's investment arm, and US firm TradeBuilders, which specialises in helping to foster trade via online conferences.

The objectives of the conference are the same as its 'real-world' counterparts; to encourage investment and bring together potential partners from both countries. As well as being able to have virtual chats with potential partners, investors, buyers and suppliers, participants will also have access to online resources, such as financial services, cyber and data security and data-mining technology advice. There will also contributions from a range of professional service providers, including lawyers and accountants.

While the Virtual Trade Mission is aimed at high-level executives, companies of any size can join in. "We are expecting participating companies of all sizes to use this…form of networking to secure business and the resources they need", explains Dave Feldman, vice consul of Invest-UK.

A range of UK organisations will join Invest-UK in pushing Britain's business potential, including the South East Development Agency, Trade Partners UK, London First Centre, the North of England and Welsh Development Agencies.

Firms wishing to apply participate should visit www.tradebuilders.com/uk-us-vtm.html. If applications are successful the fee to take part is approximately £260.

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